Colombia’s Supreme Court has ordered former President Alvaro Uribe to be placed under home detention while he is being investigated on charges of fraud and witness tampering.
The court said in its unanimous ruling on Tuesday that it was ordering Uribe to be confined to his home out of concern that he would attempt to obstruct justice.
The ruling marks the first time a former Colombian president has ever faced legal detention. Uribe served as president from 2002 to 2010, and remains a powerful figure in Colombian politics in his current role as a senator and mentor to current President Ivan Duque.
The case against Uribe stems from his accusations that Sen. Iván Cepeda, a longtime political foe, had fabricated evidence tying Uribe to a right-wing paramilitary group. But the court closed its inquiry against Cepeda in 2018 and instead opened an investigation into Uribe for allegedly bribing witnesses who could testify against him.
The former president said on Twitter that his detention had caused him “profound sadness for my wife, for my family and for the Colombians who still believe that I have done something good for the country.”
Uribe’s presidency was marked by an aggressive effort to weaken Marxist rebels who had engaged in a decades-long fight against Colombian soldiers and right-wing paramilitary groups funded partly by drug traffickers. The conflict left hundreds of thousands of Colombians dead, missing or displaced.